Updated: Mar 3
In addition to supporting survivors, SARA supports secondary survivors as well. If you are supporting a loved one who is healing from a traumatic event, SARA can help you too.
A secondary survivor is anyone emotionally affected by the assault. Whether you are a partner, parent, friend, sibling, work colleague and even a first responder. We are here to listen and help you through this process.
Many emotions can arise when a loved one discloses a traumatic event. You may experience shock and disbelief that this happened. You may feel helpless or inadequate. You may feel anger and frustration toward many people and things. You may feel fear or guilt. You may even feel impatient in wanting your loved one to quickly heal from the trauma. You may even have your own history of trauma that can reappear. You likely will feel all these things at one point or another as you proceed though this journey. It is normal to feel this way. Luckily you don’t have to bear this trauma alone. SARA is here to help you navigate this tough time.
What can SARA do for our secondary survivors?
We have a 24-hour confidential hotline and text line where we can walk you through your initial response of believing and listening to the survivor. We can give you tips on how to brainstorm with the survivor on safety planning. We can think of ways on how you can get your loved one connected with our organization.
We have advocates on staff who can talk with you about what it looks like to disclose to the police, how to help a friend file a restraining order, provide psycho education so that you can more fully understand trauma and the effects it has on a victim of sexual assault, provide referrals to other community partners (mental health, basic needs, legal aid, etc.) to more fully support the healing of the survivor, and give guidance on practical ways to support a loved one going through this hard time. By reaching out and asking questions, you are already doing the hard work of supporting your loved one.
Here at SARA, we know that the quickest way for someone to heal from trauma is through safety and human connection. We know that you are the key to safety and connection for our survivors. We recognize the importance of secondary survivors in this process and want to support you the best way we can. Please contact us if you are feeling overwhelmed and need someone to talk too. Supporting a survivor is too much for one person. It takes a community of healers to repair the damage. Let us be a part of your community.
Here is a podcast that can help secondary survivors understand what happens to victims of sexual assault after the incident. This might be helpful to listen to. https://www.capradio.org/news/after-the-assault/